Carrie’s Lucy Maud Montgomery Reading Challenge, includes any of the films based on LMM’s books as well as the books themselves. I’ve read Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars (linked to my reviews) for this challenge, and I wanted to rewatch Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel at this time because it covers all three books. I had watched it (originally titled Anne of Avonlea on VHS) when it was first shown on PBS years ago.
“Covers” is not the right verb: it’s kind of a mash-up.
Anne of Avonlea deals with Anne’s first two years of teaching in Avonlea school, Anne of the Island with her four years at college, and Anne of Windy Poplars with her years of being a principal at Summerside High School (Kingsport Ladies’ College in the film) while Gilbert is in medical school.
The film begins at the end of Anne’s years of teaching in Avonlea. It leaves out completely Anne’s years at Redmond College and her almost-fiance from that time, Royal Gardiner, but it projects that relationship onto a father of one of Anne’s students at Kingsport. The Harris family is an amalgam of several different people from the books. In the books Anne and Gilbert are engaged at the end of Anne of the Island and then Anne teaches for three years while he finishes medical school, but the film has Anne leaving Avonlea to teach partly to get away from Gilbert’s pursuits and ends with their engagement after only one year of Anne’s being at Kinsgport.
Despite the jumble of plots and characters, many of the lines from the film are verbatim from the books, though some are said by different characters and in different settings. I think much of the spirit of the books is captured, from Anne’s feeling out of place and regretting everyone’s growing up and changing in Anne of the Island and her spirit in Anne of Windy Poplars. Her winning over of the snobbish Pringle family happens differently in the film than the book, but many of the elements are there. “Katherine with a K” with all her “prickles and stings” is portrayed excellently — I could feel and sympathize with the stark bleakness she saw her life to be. Her “transformation” was taken a bit father and faster than portrayed in the books.
I do have mixed emotions about the film. I loved seeing the characters come to life, the beautiful scenery, the lace on even the most severe characters, the old-fashioned pins and brooches (when these films first came out, many I knew dressed, not just like the films, but using many elements from them. I still love old-fashioned lace and brooches. I wish people still wore hats like the ones there!) I can understand the mash-up better than I can the atrocity that was done in Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story. I think the film could have worked covering the sequence of events as they were in the books, but even some dedicated Anne fans feel that the Island and especially Windy Poplars lag a little bit, so, again, I can understand why the film was done this way, despite my purist preferences. I did miss Anne’s “House O’ Dreams” with her college chums and china dogs amd Aunt Jamesina as well as Rebecca Dew and some other characters from the books. But the film was a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of evenings, and I am sure I’ll watch it again and again in years to come.